A rogue comet causes motor vehicles and random electronic items to become sentient and murderous. A group of survivors band together at a truck stop to hold the machines off. However, diesel trucks keep coming, with an endless thirst for gas. (For some reason, the gas pumps are layabouts, while the meat slicers are more than happy to join the fun.) The group has an idea: if they can get to a boat (the boats are also lazy) they can escape to an area with no electricity. It’s a just a matter of temporarily outwitting the trucks.
It’s written and directed by Stephen King, which should be exciting, because so many adaptations of his stuff are just awful. Unfortunately (and ironically) this is one of the worst. This is from one of the phases of his career when he is now notorious for being seriously coked-up. I first saw this as a teenager, and hated it. As an adult I can see some good points, but not many. The soundtrack is good, if you like AC/DC. I appreciate the first scene, which shows the 50-car pileup of carnage that ensues when a bridge decides to malfunction; it emphasizes (much more elegantly than the rest of the movie) how much we depend on technology and what can go wrong from something so simple as a bridge opening suddenly. There’s also a kinda funny scene at a bank. “FUCK YOU,” reads the electronic ticker out front. Then a customer (King himself) comes to use the ATM, which insults him.
But such scenes are dwarfed by the rest of the terribleness. My least favorite scene (so many to choose from, hmm) is when a stereotypical Black man (a young Giancarlo Esposito) loots the game room of the truck stop. “Yo mama,” he says to a malfunctioning pinball machine. He’s then electrocuted by an arcade game on his way out. In addition there are annoyances like the trucks knowing Morse code and the truck stop owner just happening to have a stockpile of weapons, including a rocket launcher. The acting is okay; Emilio Estevez and Frankie Faison are always professionals. Yeardley Smith tends to overdo it, but I loves me some Lisa Simpson, so I forgive her. The worst performance is given by Ellen McElduff, who plays Wanda June the waitress. She has not one hissy fit, but two, cawing “We made you!” at the trucks. She finally meets the sweet release of death, prompting a little envy on my part.
I recommend it to hardcore King fans (the kind who would read his grocery list), and possibly Simpsons fans, but no other sane human being ought to be exposed to it.